06 Dec 2019 - Thorsten
Doomy-Occult-Metal | Ván Records | Release date: 06 Dec 2019
Occult Metal from Italy released on German Ván Records sounds promising? - Sure does!
Caronte (or Charon) is the ferryman transporting the souls across the rivers separating the realm of the living and the dead. It is also the name of a record by Italian progressive rock band The Trip from 1971. Furthermore, Furthermore, Caronte is the name of another Italian band playing an appealing form of NWOBHM-influenced doom metal which just recently released a new album called Wolves of Thelema through Ván Records.
When researching the ideas behind the record you very quickly descend into the world of mysticism (not paganism!), into the works of Aleister Crowley, into the idea of an inner will to control human life which is called ‘thelema’ in some ancient texts including the Bible and also in the works of Crowley, who even called his Italian commune in Cefalù the Abbey of Thelema. The word is originally nothing less than a synonym for the will of God guiding and controlling human life – in Crowley’s work it is transported into the center of his idea of a man-controlled form of our own future, a humanization of the original God-centered idea.
Why am I writing all this? Well, one will not understand Caronte’s record without having a small knowledge of this background: the band has a very occult understanding of the world around us and this record, their fourth since 2014, also deals with Aleister Crowley’s work (like the ones before, but they were much more centered on his works and not on one part alone). But behold, we are not talking about some weirdos spraying pentagrams on other people’s houses or on public buildings, they are talking about it seriously (also noticeable in some of the titles, for example “Quantum Ecclesia”) - as the title of their record Wolves of Thelema indicates, they are actively trying to impose the idea of Thelema onto their lives and their music.
Musically, the album is influenced by Judas Priest and you can hear that the new members and participants gave the band some fresh ideas, the songs are heavy but also play with a darkness enlightened by lots of candles in the form of 60s-style synths giving them some ecclesiastical-like notions. The bands has progressed and improved in their songwriting, sometimes even being able to give us a pop-like chorus but never sounding cheesy (listen to “Queen of the Sabbath” or “Hypnopyre”). If there is one thing that might be criticized, then it’s the vocal performance, sometimes the leads could be a bit more original and less 80s-like while at the same times, the backgrounds might be a bit more noticeable.
Nevertheless, it should be remarked that the album is definitely a grower and a very good start of the new year for those of us who have an open ear for occult metal which a strong, sometimes proggy 70s feel.